Werewolves 98: Return to Zone Z – Day 2

As you approach the Kmart, the sun sets. Abruptly. It goes from midafternoon to midnight in about 20 seconds.

“Huh,” says Dr. Olivia Octavius.

“Huh,” says Lazer Floyd, Hyperphysicist.

They look at each other and shrug.

It turns out that the truck either doesn’t have headlights or Zap Rowsdower can’t find the switch, so you pull over and pitch camp at the edge of the Kmart parking lot.

“Lotta good stuff in there,” muses Big Jim as you build a bonfire. “Can’t wait to get me some salt pork an’ Pokémon cards.”

“If you can fit monsters in your pocket,” says Betty Grof, “just imagine how many monsters you can fit in the WHOLE WORLD?”

“Fam, let’s not,” says Evan.

The fire burns to embers, and you bunk down on the asphalt for the night. At one point, you hear a scuffle, but it doesn’t escalate. After you’ve all fallen asleep, a single paper bag, attached to a tiny parachute with a blinking light, descends upon one sleeper.

The sun rises normally, at least, and you rise to greet the day.

“Oh my gosh,” says PTA Sharon. “Are we all here? It’s a miraaaah crap.

Peggy Hill lies motionless beside the fire, her features peaceful. Less peaceful is the surgical gash across her abdomen.

“He visto este tipo de cosas antes,” says Duo, somberly. “Alguien la robó el hígado.”

“What, really?” asks Big Jim.

“Sí.”

Jim pokes Peggy’s body with his nailbat. The body immediately collapses down to the size of a grain of sand, making a loud bang and leaving only Peggy’s glasses on the asphalt.

Peggy Hill (Ralph Waldo Wiggum) has died. She (he) was the IMPLOSIONIST, and a STATE AGENT.

Lastly, Zap is deeply angered to discover that someone slashed one of the truck’s tires. He complains a lot as he jacks it up and bolts on the spare.

Armed with melee weapons and large sticks, you approach the Kmart. It’s as derelict as anything else you’ve seen in Cry’ville. Suddenly, Evan holds up a fist and you all stop.

“It’s a trap,” he hisses.

“What?” says Moss, looking up from his calculator. “This is an abandoned building. There’s nothing more dangerous in there than structural failure.”

“You think I can’t tell when a retail environment is a trap?”

“STOP WHERE YOU ARE!”

You all look up. Atop the Kmart is a woman, swathed in ragged clothes that flap in the Alaskan summer wind. She is holding an enormous rifle with an enormous scope. It’s hard to tell at this distance, but she seems mad.

“WHO ARE YOU?” she booms, voice reflecting off the cracked asphalt.

“Big Jim,” says Big Jim.

“Je m’appelle Duo,” says the owl.

“Maurice,” says Moss, “but most people call me-”

The woman fires a warning shot and you all raise your hands.

“We’re Northern Limit!” yells Liv, after a pause. “We’re scientists.”

The woman considers this. “I think you should come inside.”

Nervously, you walk to the front of the Kmart. Up close, you can see the building is crumbling, but efforts have been made to patch the crumbling cement. Also, there used to be a Little Caesars here. The sign for it and the Kmart itself are long gone. Spraypainted over their shadowy outlines are the words E UNUM PLURIBUS.

“Ух Ох,” says Duo, softly.

The glass front of the store has been covered with heavy boards, and the sliding glass doors replaced with heavy wooden ones. One of these swings open, and the woman from the rooftop meets you face to face, rifle over her shoulder. She’s about 20, and looks… strangely familiar.

“Hello,” she says, and gives you a crooked smile. “Can’t place the face? I’m Veronica. Veronica 73. Come on.”

Wordlessly, you follow her into the darkened Kmart. Shafts of dusty sun come down from skylights. You’re not going to be doing much looting here. The shelves have mostly been cleared and pushed against the walls, or used to create dividers between various work and sleeping areas. It’s hard to get a good look at anything, but you get a sense of rumpled blankets, rusting tools and tattered books.

As Veronica 73 parades you deeper into the building, you hear voices. There’s something wrong about them, and it takes you a moment to realize what you’re hearing are different variations of the same voice.

You round one of the living areas and meet a bizarre sight: An open-air classroom, made out of stolen school desks facing a rolling blackboard. At every desk sits a Veronica, most in their teens or early 20s, but a few are little girls. They are reading various books, and a teacher walks between the rows, checking on one pupil at a time.

“Twelve!” says Veronica 73. “We have guests.”

The teacher looks over and, yes, she’s a Veronica too, one in her late 40s. She and all her students smile at you and burst into applause.

“We need to get out of here,” hisses Elaine Stritch.

“Children, back to your studies,” says Veronica 12, rushing over. “Welcome, visitors! Please, come this way.”

She leads you to the back of the store and through the double doors into the EMPLOYEES ONLY area, where of course there are even more Veronicas. They’re sitting at a loose horseshoe of mismatched tables, scattered papers in front of them, facing an exceptionally elderly Veronica in a wheelchair. They all look up.

“Ah fuck,” says the elder Veronica. “Everybody out! Seventy-three, you stay.”

The other Veronicas stand and leave, and Veronica 12 gives you a smile as she joins them on the way out the door. You hear the swinging doors clap shut behind you, and the moment of silence that follows is excruciating.

“I-is this Crunchtown?” Big Dawg asks softly.

“Where did you find them?” the elder Veronica asks 73.

“Parking lot. They walked right up.”

The elder Veronica nods to herself. “Fearless,” she says. Then: “Do you have my smokes?” You look at each other, confused, and she curses. “Thirty – the Veronica on the outside – sews packs of cigarettes into the parachutes. None of you stupid bastards ever think to check, though. Listen, any of you make it back out of here, you tell her to try something less subtle.”

Rum Tum Tugger holds up a paw.

“You, dance-cat. What is it?”

Rum Tum Tugger makes a very complex face, and finally gestures around himself while making a low screeching sound.

“Oh. Right.” The elder Veronica clears her throat. “I am Veronica Prime, I think. I believe that I am the oldest of the Veronicae, and my word here is law. I was working at the regional airport the day the… thing… happened. I was 55 then. You getting me so far?”

Nods.

“The seasons don’t work right anymore, but as far as we can tell, it’s been 23 years since then. In here,” she adds, as Bill Moneysales puts up a hand. “I know we’ve been off outside time for awhile.” A deep breath. “Believe me, I know.

“This place copies people. But not everyone. It seems to like me – or ‘Veronica’ – the most. We don’t know exactly where we come from. We just sort of turn up, all ages, some with memories, some without. Unfortunately, the ones who appear as adults are all addicted to cigarettes. There’s some conflict between me and the others on this, but if my memories are the true ones, Veronica started smoking at 15 because she had a 16-year-old boyfriend and wanted him to think she was mature.

“And who are you? Northern Limit?”

More nods.

“What year is it out there?”

“2019,” says Liv.

“Christ.” She rubs her face with her hands. “Well, what do you want? Guns? A map?”

“I would like a gun, please,” says PTA Sharon.

“Excuse me,” says Moss. “You said Zone Z likes certain people better than others. Now, that implies there are OTHER others here. Could you tell us more about them? Do THEY have guns and maps?”

Veronica stares at him, then leans back, studying the ceiling. “Let’s see. There’s Rex Tillerson. You can hear him playing saxophone some nights. Nice guy. Used to work for Exxon. The tree frogs love ‘im. There’s something called Face, that I know died a bunch of times but always comes back. Kind of hard to look at, but nice enough. The Zone only seems to have one Face at a time. And I know there are others, living out in the mountains, ’cause I see lights sometimes. Hear things. But I can’t remember if I ever met them. My memory’s… confusing.”

“About that gun,” says Sharon, politely.

“I assume you’re headed toward the ground-aurora,” says Veronica. “That’s where the Northern Limit teams always say they’re going, and they never come back, but whatever. I will give you all one gun, with one condition.”

She reaches into a side pocket on the wheelchair and produces a rather conventional semi-automatic pistol, which she tosses to Sharon.

“If you get out of here,” says Veronica, “you send me back cigarettes. Hundreds of cartons. As many as 30 can fit in that plane of hers. We’re goddamn due.”

Veronica 73 leads you back out to your truck.

“Don’t mind her,” she says, trying to mollify this waking nightmare. “She’s from another time. I spawned at age 10, and this is all I’ve ever known. I have hardly any V-memories at all, and honestly, it’s a relief. I think trying to hold on to the past can hurt more than it helps. I wouldn’t leave the Zone for anything.”

Liv shakes hands with her, and then you climb into the truck, rolling away into the crumbling downtown.

PLAYERS

  1. E-Dog – Evan
  2. Spookyfriend – PTA Sharon
  3. Ralph Waldo Wiggum – Peggy Hill Implosionist and STATE AGENT
  4. Jake – Nick Furry
  5. Louie Blue – Oliver Bunny
  6. Sister Jude – Elaine Stritch
  7. April LKD – A voice on the wind
  8. The Hayes Code – Dr. Olivia Octavius
  9. Mayelbridwen – A swarm of undead undead flies
  10. Hohopossum – Astral HOWEIRD Possum
  11. Goat – Gort v4.0
  12. Owen – Big Dawg
  13. InDEEEED – Nicholas Angel
  14. MacCrocodile – The Ball Fondlers
  15. Lindsay – Rum Tum Tugger
  16. Wasp – Big Jim
  17. Grumproro – Betty Grof
  18. Mr. I’m My Own Grandfather – Zap Rowsdower
  19. BannerThief – NorahThief Schuhart
  20. DemyxDancer – Bill Moneysales, Senior Director of Marketing for Windmill Real Estate, Inc., Ltd.
  21. Mr. Plow – Moss
  22. Lamb Dance – Duo the Owl
  23. Lovely Bones – E.B. Farnum
  24. Mr. Glitch – Lazer Floyd, Hyperphysicist and Supergalactic Man of Action

BACKUPS

  1. Josephus Brown
  2. DW
  3. Flubba

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STARTING

  • 18 Scientists (TOWN)
  • 5 Government Agents (WOLVES)
  • 1 Unaligned (SERIAL KILLER)

This count will NOT be updated as the game goes on.

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RULES
  • Everybody has a role. Roles can change. All roles will initially be secret.
  • There isn’t a hard order that night actions occur in. This is to allow as many of them to go through as possible.
  • This game, like the original Zone Z and the House of Wimbiscus, will feature Events. Events are real-time opportunities for the characters to change the story. They tend to be chaotic, so I went to reassure everyone that they won’t affect the basic werewolf mechanics of voting and night kills. They’re in a class by themselves.
  • Death in this game is not necessarily permanent. Check your QTs daily.
  • Town wins when all the wolves and the serial killer are defeated.
  • The wolves win when they are equal to the number of town-aligned players left.
  • Serial killer wins when it comes down to just them and one other person.
  • Additional win conditions may become available as the game progresses.
  • A tie at the end of day results in No Kill. A majority of living players voting for any one person (or No Kill) ends the day early.
  • No editing posts.
  • No quoting or screencapping from your QTs.
  • If you have any other questions about rules, please ask in QT, and I will answer publicly here.
  • Last, and most importantly: Anything I (as moderator) say, from Day 1 onward, could be a lie. Use your best judgments to find the truths of Zone Z.
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Day 2 ends 7 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 9.